New Delhi: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has said it his "dream" to implement a single common entrance examination for admission in engineering and science disciplines at the national level by 2013.

"My real dream is by 2013, I should have the first all India test," he said during an interaction.

A committee chaired by T Ramasami, Secretary in the Department of Science and Technology, was constituted to re- look into the test methodology of selecting students and have a common system for admission.

The aim of the National Aptitude Test is to reduce psychological and financial stress on students. Sibal said Ramasami, who has completed his work, had carried out a study to seek response for a single test and "response is that 80 per cent of the people in India want it," he said.

"No political party has said no to that (to the test)", he replied to a question.

Asked about opposition from Tamil Nadu to this concept, he said "that is a peculiarly Tamil Nadu legislative decision, which is now being challenged in Madras High Court. Thats entirely different from having a separate test."

He said if there is an all India list and there is an equalisation procedure which takes into account each state board, then every child can get admission to the institution of his choice and there can be no capitation fee.  Member of the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council C N R Rao had earlier also recommended a common entrance test for higher education including medical and technical courses.

Sharing concern over proliferation of unrecognized institutes, he expressed hope that key bills like the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority Bill and the Education Malpractice Bill will put an end to such institutes.

"Every educational institute set up by the state or centre or by private sector will have to seek mandatory accreditation once accreditation bill is passed," he said.

He said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD is currently studying the proposed legislation and is expected to submit its report next month.

"The mechanics of it (accreditation) will be that the accrediting authority will consist of government and non-government agency. The methodology would be very scientific. So there will be no element of discretion," he said.

Sibal said, the malpractice bill, which will be tabled in the Monsoon Session, will make it mandatory for institutes for voluntary disclosure of information.

"An institute will set up its own website in which it sets out voluntarily its faculty, its infrastructure, the teachers, the degrees of those teachers, the fees and any other charges," he said, adding people would be liable for prosecution if the disclosure are found to be false. 

Sibal to convert 1.5 lakh POs into banks

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal wants to reach out to the masses in the rural areas with modern banking facilities through the post offices. He wants to convert over 1.5 lakh humble post offices across the nation into full fledged banks.

"We want to commercialise the department. We will seek a licence from the RBI to convert all our post offices into banks," Sibal said.

The lack of modern banking facilities in rural areas and dependence of villagers on informal sector for their credit requirements has prompted the government to work on financial inclusion by way of setting up 'postal banks'.

The post offices currently offer financial services like savings bank, postal life insurance, pension payments and money transfer services. Its total corpus stood at Rs 5,82,832.9 crore as on March 31, 2011.

DoP's revenues grew 11 per cent to Rs 6,954.09 crore in 2010-2011 from Rs 6,266.70 crore in the previous fiscal. DoP is also believed to be working towards setting up ATMs and offer debit cards for its customers.

"My vision is that post offices must become banks, so that an ordinary man can with Rs 10 open an account. We can set-up ATM machines for the e-banking...we can do e-retail," Sibal said.

2G, CWG scandals affected brand India: Sibal

The recent spate of scandals like 2G scam in telecom and Common Wealth Games (CWG) has not only tarnished the 'brand India' image but also impacted the FDI flow in the country, says IT & Communications Minister Kapil Sibal.

"...we have got only USD 25 billion FDI this year. It's a fall of fairly substantial percentage but I think it is a temporary phase," he said.

According to a UN report, India slipped to 14th spot in the list of countries that attracted the highest foreign direct investment last year, with inflows declining by about USD 10 billion to USD 25 billion.

The ongoing 2G controversy has raised anxiety in the mind of foreign investors who are looking to investment in the emerging markets like India.

However, Sibal is confident that, "it is a temporary phase for a simple reason that the market in India is perhaps the most attractive market anywhere in the world."

(Agencies)